While on my mission I can be contacted at ashley.lynch@myldsmail.net

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hello again, Hilliard

Despite what the title may make you think, I did not get transferred. Sister Asay and I will be staying in Piqua. I am so excited for this transfer!

We did go back to Hilliard for a quick visit though, which is about an hour and a half away from where I am currently serving. BUT it could not have been more worth it! You may remember me talking about the amazing couple Rachel and Daniel from Hilliard. If you don't, Sister Speakman and I met Rachel walking her dog outside her apartment and things flew from there! She just soaked everything in and Daniel was a little more skeptical but was diligent in learning  everything for himself. I am so grateful that I got to be a part of their beginning and have grown to love them so much, they are absolutely wonderful. I was sad when I got transferred that I couldn't be an active part in their journey anymore, but the wonderful Sister Speakman kept me updated the whole time. And guess what! They got married Friday night and then I got to come see them be baptized Saturday night! The spirit was so strong there and filled me up. It was such a blessing and an honor to be able to attend and watch them make these essential covenants with their Heavenly Father. So many exciting things happening for them and it just brings me true joy that they are starting their journey in the gospel together and have their sights on the temple! 
 

Sorry I don't have much else to tell you, it has been just a short time since I last wrote. I do want to leave you with my testimony of service. We have had the opportunity to do a lot of service lately: working in a clothing bank, doing yard work, random acts of kindness, being a light to those around us, and of course performing the service of sharing the blessings of the Restored Gospel with our brothers and sisters. Us rendering service is a way we can show our Heavenly Father our gratitude for everything we have been given. I am truly grateful to have this time in my life set apart completely for the service of others because service brings joy. It's what makes the world a better place. It is my prayer that we each look for those opportunities to serve those around us, because they are always there. 
Mosiah 2:17
"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go



This week has been a huge testament to me that God make sure we are exactly where he needs us to be.
We met many wonderful people this week, like a man named Larry. We were knocking on this street one morning and we both got this feeling that it's not where we were supposed to be. So we went to a different road we had been wanting to go to and behind one of the first doors we knocked on was Larry. He just recently lost his wife and is searching for comfort, and it turns out that some of his wife's family are members of our ward and actually invited his to attend church recently. We are meeting with him again later this week which surprised his family,  but it is incredible how God prepares people in ways we don't expect.
We also met a woman who was out on her porch who met missionaries and read from the Book of Mormon about 30 years ago! How incredible is that, especially since she would like to meet with us.

We met a man recently who we first had contact with when we were walking down this road and he stopped to make sure our car wasn't broken down or something. Then we saw him again later and actually got to talk with him about the gospel  and it was really cool. The funniest part though is when the next day we met this woman who asked us where we had been yesterday morning, when we told her she informed us that we had met her son! They are not ready yet, but I know that God needed us to have contact with that family for some reason.

Last night we were about to go in for the night and before we did we felt we needed to go talk to a woman sitting out on her porch. She told us how her and her mother have been looking for a church to go to. Then she said she wanted to get baptized and since she doesn't have an extensive background in religion she wants to have someone that will start basic and teach her. Ma'am that's why we are here! It was so incredible.

One of the coolest things was meeting James. We were just walking down the street and he was sitting on the porch. We waved and instead of keeping on to where we were going, we stopped and I am so glad we did. He doesn't have a knowledge of God being his Father, he experiences a lot of emotional turmoil and simply lacks hope in his life. We are just in the beginning of his journey, but we have already seen him feel the spirit and the love of his Father, feel the power of the Book of Mormon, and start to find those glimmers of hope. I love being a missionary!

I want to leave you with my testimony that we have a loving Heavenly Father who has a very specific plan for each of us. That simple but profound truth is what kept me moving forward this week. He knows us individually and perfectly and desires for us to know Him too. I am grateful for prayer and the peace it brings, that it is a way we can feel of His love. If there is anything you are struggling with, need answers for, or just need to know that someone is there for you, I would advise you to get on your knees and offer a heartfelt prayer prayer. I promise that as we humbly listen He will always answer.

I love you all, just keep smiling!
 

 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Whatever the Mind Can Conceive and Believe, It Can Achieve

Oh what a week! We had Zone Conference filled with great insights and lessons. So many things were simply inspiration to give the Lord our best. The title of my post today is a quote that President Stratford lives by and has asked that we adopt as a mission. I know that great things can happen when we show the Lord we are willing and give him our all. A key part of that though is recognizing the Lord, yes we can achieve anything, but only with the Lord's help. We talked a lot about humility and turning our will over to God and Sister Stratford presented a few simple statements: I can't, He can, I think I'll let Him. I know that when we turn ourselves over to God and rely on his strength to do what would otherwise be impossible for us, miracles can happen.

Lately we have been exhausted, so we must be doing something right. I wish I knew how many miles we walked the other day, because that's literally all we did. It was awesome. Especially walking back to our car at the end of the night when it started pouring. We were so soaked! But still smiling and having a blast of course.

Saturday morning we also spent a ton of time on our feet. We and the Elders were invited by a member in our ward to share his booth at the farmers market. We made a poster and set up our booth all about family history. I was excited about the concept, but the execution scared me out of my mind. But I applied the principles I have shared with you from zone conference and the Lord was able to give me strength beyond my own and worked the miracle of me being able to talk to many people. It actually turned out to be a lot of fun and we did a lot of good.



The week ended in the greatest way possible, with a baptism! A family that the Elders have been teaching entered the waters of baptism this weekend. The greatest part was being able to spend a lot of time with the mom helping her and above all watching her witness her sons being baptized. There were so many emotions and the spirit was so thick. It was an incredible experience!

Apparently this week's theme is relying on the Lord. Something I wanted to share with you from my study of the Savior comes from John 16
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Christ is the founder of our peace. We have no reason to fear because he has overcome the world, so through him we can overcome anything that comes our way. I know that Jesus Christ is real and that he is our Savior. He is the source of our peace in this life and our hope for the life to come.

I love you all, just keep smiling!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Our Testimony is a Seal

I know I say this all the time, but Ohio has crazy weather. Right now there is a lot of humidity and crazy thunderstorms that usually start without warning. It always keeps things interesting!

This week has been full of ups and downs, nothing out of the ordinary. Bill is still having a hard time. He was doing so good the whole week and was so prepared to be confirmed yesterday, he even made it to the church building. But he left before sacrament meeting started. Sometimes I don't know what more to do, but the Lord knows what he needs and we will keep trusting and keep trying. God never lets his work go undone.

I don't think I have told you all about one of our new friends Damian yet (and if I have just bear with me). He is doing awesome! His cousin is our bishop so he has had some contact with the church for most of his life, and Sisters knocked on his door and he wasn't very interested. But a few weeks ago he showed up at church with his family and said he wanted to meet and we have been teaching him ever since. He is just eating it up and has already seen such great things in his life from starting on this path of living the gospel. His testimony has grown so much in the short time we have been meeting with him and I know that is because of the things he is doing outside of our lessons, like praying and seriously studying the scriptures. The amount of notes he takes and questions he has fills me with joy. I am just so excited for him and the path he is on!

Something really funny this week. The primary had a water activity, and good thing too because that was a really hot day. We had a meeting at the church and got there earlier than planned, so we got to say hi really quick to all the ward members outside. Well, we were on our way inside when the water guns were brought out. I hear some kid say,  "It's the missionaries!" All of a sudden we were ambushed and were being shot at by many of the kids. Apparently Sister Missionaries make for fun targets. It was a blast and very refreshing after being outside all day haha. 

Something that has really stuck with me this week from our district meeting is the concept of our testimonies being a seal. When we as missionaries bear our testimony in a lesson, the spirit seals the truths we have taught. And when any of us share our testimonies, it seals the knowledge we have gained. It is like having a jar that we are constantly filling as we go to church, read our scriptures, pray. talk with others, and whatever else we do to learn. We keep putting stuff in, but without the seal on the jar we can lose it. I promise you that the knowledge you gain will not likely be lost or forgotten if you seal it by bearing your testimonies, even in informal ways as you live your life and let it show through your actions and the way you interact with others.

I love you all, hope you have a great week! Just keep smiling!

lollipops from Brother Bill's stash      
Making Pizzas

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Big Bad Willie to Brother Houser

We had out first interviews with President and Sister Stratford this week! They are wonderful and have so much love for each of us already. Something that President Stratford has invited us all to do, and I would extend this invitation to all of you as well, is to really focus on our nightly prayers. That is such a  sacred time we have each day to account to the Lord the things we have done and tell him how we feel about the things we experienced throughout the day. I promise that as you come to the Lord and pour out your hear that he will ease your concerns, answer your questions and let you feel how much he loves you. Those assurances are what keep me going everyday.

"I went from Big Bad Willie to Brother Houser." Bill was baptized this Saturday! It is always a wonderful and special experience to witness one of God's children make such sacred covenants that will alter the course of their lives. Bill has already made so many changes in his life to come closer to his Heavenly Father and his Savior. I have come to love hims o much as I have served him and been an instrument in the Lord's hands to help him get here. I cannot begin to express to you the joy I feel! God is going to do amazing things with him on this journey he has just embarked on. Funny thing though, he didn't show up Sunday to be confirmed and receive the Holy Ghost....we had a nice long talk about recognizing when the spirit is telling you things and when it is someone else. He will officially be a member next Sunday, you can count on that.
 
 

I want you all to know my testimony of how much our Heavenly Father loves each of us. God knows us and loves us each of us individually. All he wants is to help us reach our divine potential he has seen in us from the beginning, because we literally are his children and there is a piece of his divinity always with us. He will give us correction, but always out of love so we can learn and grow. God only wants to build us up to reach that potential, so he would never tell us anything about ourselves that is degrading, discouraging or disappointing. If you do have these thoughts, you are listening to the wrong voice, which is are challenge many of us have to overcome. I would plead with you to do the things God has asked of you aren't prepare yourself to hear the voice of the spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Strive to listen to the Spirit! I love you all, just keep smiling!

Monday, July 10, 2017

God Answers Prayers Because He Cares

Cornfields!
 Everyday I think about how amazing it is that God places us exactly where we need to be. He is so mindful of all of his children and what they need, I am so grateful to be his hands and part of that delivery system.

First off, Bill Houser. He has been working towards baptism for a very long time and recently he told the sisters that if he prayed about a date to be baptized and got the same answer they did he would know for sure it is what God wanted for him. Well, on the 4th of July while Bill was cooking hotdogs for all of us we asked him if he had been praying about a date. He said that he had, but wanted to hear ours first. We told him that we had felt that July 15th was right and as soon as we said that he stopped, his eyes got wide and said, "No way! That is the day I thought of too!" Bill is so ready and very excited for his baptism this upcoming Saturday. It is amazing that the Lord knew he needed that kind of witness and provided it to him.
 
Bill, Sister Asay and I
 
God knows the kinds of answers we all need, even if we don't. I have experienced so many answers to prayers for myself lately and none of them have been in ways I expected, but they always come. Often times the Lord wants us to make a decision and come to him for confirmation. Like one of our friends lately has been struggling with making a very big decision. She never felt a definite answer from God as she prayed, but she felt Him pulling her in a specific direction and was able to find peace in that answer. That is the key, is being humble enough to accept the answer even if it doesn't come in the way we expect or hope for.

Thursday we had exchanges and oh boy was it raining that day. It started pouring as soon as we left the apartment and all we had that morning was knocking doors. We looked absolutely ridiculous trudging through the pouring rain and now flooded streets trying to find those who were whole and ready to hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite the elements we were smiling all the way and the thought came to me that nothing is worth more than sharing the gospel, no shoes or possessions, comfort or pride. We met many wonderful people that day who I know were put in our path for a reason.

Last night was so cool. We ended the night with Tom who we met sitting in his garage as we were walking down the street. He waved us up his drive and set chairs out for us and we talked about the beauty of God's plan for each of us. He just kept saying how neat this situation was and how much he was going to thank god for it. Before we left he offered a prayer and said that he usually doesn't talk to people like us but thanked God for having him keep his garage open that day and that we walked down his street.

I am so grateful to be a part of this great work and to experience people's prayers being answered everyday. I love in the Doctrine and Covenants 103:36 where it says,
"All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith." I know that we will be successful in life when we realize who has control. As we are diligent in our faith in Christ and rely on the Lord through prayer w will receive answers according to our faith and willingness to act. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Just keep smiling!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Becometh as a Child

This week was great! It was my first full week here in Piqua, there has definitely needed to be some adjustment but I am loving it!

We are working with some awesome people! I told you a bit about the Schaeffers last week, they are still doing awesome. It is just the coolest thing to have a whole family learning together and making changes to come closer to Christ. Everything is so much more meaningful as a family because that is how God intended it to be.
There is also Bill who has actually been meeting with sisters for about a year and now his son Chad is as well! They are working towards baptism and it is so cool that they have each other to learn from and to support each other
. I'm telling ya, learning as a family is the way it's supposed to be.

I always love that God knows exactly what we need. I have been constantly growing when it comes to opening my mouth, but I am pretty sure I am going to hit my growth spurt here with Sister Asay. She really helps me push myself and reach my goals, and most of the time I really appreciate her tough love. 

This week we met our new mission president. President and Sister Stratford seem great and I love them already. I cannot wait for interviews coming up and getting to know them both better! 

Something I have been thinking and studying about a lot lately is about learning to do God's will. I really love the scripture Mosiah 3:19
"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

Our whole purpose here on this earth is to learn how to align our will with our Heavenly Father's and strive to become like Him. I know that we do that by following the spirit who teaches us to rely on and follow Christ. I know that as we do this and are humble and full of love we will have greater joy in life.

I love you all, hope you have a fantastic week! Just keep smiling!